August 25, 2008

Entrapped by Barriers...but not forever.

So I had a very interesting and helpful meeting with my therapist today. After several days of particular emotional difficulty (dreams about going to graduation parties that were for everyone but me at vet school, seeing a picture of 3 friends (one with whom I went to Tanzania, and 2 students that I started with at Tufts) doing their internship together (worlds of mine colliding, and I'm not there with them!), etc), I was asked to write out, in big lettering, on single sheets of paper what things were barring my way. I was able to come up with a few, and my therapist reflected a few others to me that she heard from our discussion. Then she told me to stand in the middle.

I was rather overwhelmed with the literal sense of entrapment. She asked me what I was going to do. I told her I felt like curling up and dying.

She recognized the hurt I felt, and conceded that that was one option. "To get out, however, what are you going to do?" After some discussion and thinking, I decided that since the bottom 3 were things that were comforting to me, that they need not be a worry (however, it was good to realize that they do impinge my freedom from this place I'm in.) The two most frustrating items are Vet Admissions (why won't they let me repeat 3rd year anywhere??!!?!) and Not Enough Income (I'm seriously FUCKed!). But, damn it all, those things are not going to change of their own volition. I just have to accept those. The other three are things that I work on everyday in some regard. I search for new programs, I apply for jobs, I go to a therapist regularly to shine light on what old beliefs are no longer working for me, etc.

And that brings me to the last part of the session where she pointed out that one of my old beliefs is that something has to be successful immediately for me to give myself credit for it. I'm lucky that for most of my life I've been able to do pretty well at most things I've attempted. But when I put so much effort into something and it doesn't live up to my expectations, I regard that as a failure, instead of giving credit to myself for the effort. Vet school, I realize, has done plenty to reinforce this. Hence, here we are, I work hard every day on trying to find a path for myself, but feel like I've gotten nowhere and still feel like an incredible failure, instead of patting myself on the back for doing all I can and enjoying my life in the meantime.

Tonight I am to enjoy my life--make a good dinner, even make some dessert, spend some time with Ben and the kitten...just chill and be happy for living home with Ben.


May said...

That stick figure in the top picture looks JUST LIKE YOU. That is so WEIRD. Did you cut your hair??

david said...

Ok. The first stick figure has to be you, because noone else could contort their body into that position. The second one, sorry, looks more like a sperm.

Alyssum, you are a real inspiration, the way you have kept your head up, and the way you have been open with your recent experiences. I can only hope to one day deal with my troubles in the way you seem to. Thanks for showing me how it's done!